CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/31 July)–It’s a fact that a person’s early conditioning deeply influences his attitudes, values, and behavior in later life. One who grows up in a nurturing or supportive environment is likely to develop into a sensitive, caring, positive-thinking individual. “Kung asa ka malipayon, hijo, supportahan ta ka!” [Son, I’ll support you whatever makes you happy!-Ed)
Another youth who grows up in a violent, harsh, or hostile environment may become a tough, defiant, combative individual. And a child who is constantly told he is no good may grow up with low self-esteem.
Elders often make the mistake of belittling youthful dreams. “Hoy, pagka ambisyoso mo. Taas ra kaayo imong pangandoy. Pobre lang kita!” [Hey, you’re too ambitious. You dream too high. We’re just poor!-Ed] A teenager with a crush on a lovely girl may be told: “Dili ka angay niya, Dong, guwapa ra kaayo siya para nimo!” [You’re not compatible with her, boy. She’s too beautiful for you!-Ed] Or, “Sapi-an ra kaayo iyang pamilya para nato! Wa ka’y angay diha.”[Their family is richer than us! You’re not good for them.-Ed]
This off-putting treatment can impair a child’s ability to cope later in life. There was this fellow who approached a well-known prankster: “Bai, unsa-on ko kaha pagsulbad ning akong [Friend, how can I solve my] inferiority complex?” The irrepressible prankster sized him up in mock interest and retorted: “Di man inferiority complex imong problema, Bai. Inferior ka gayud!” [Inferiority complex is not your problem my friend. You are really inferior!-Ed] A devastating blow to the fellow’s ego!
How many young, impressionable minds are turned off or led astray because of wrong conditioning or disinformation? Even joking but deprecating remarks can wreck a person’s self-esteem.
There are exceptional people of course who, through strength of character or sheer will power, are able to overcome adverse circumstances and transcend a hostile environment.
But worry not about the exceptions; they can handle themselves. Think of the millions of Filipinos who are victims of wrong conditioning every day of their youth.
The adverse conditioning is perpetrated by functionaries of broadcast stations who bombard the atmosphere with inane ranting day in and day out, hurling thunderbolts and ad hominem tirades against authorities, institutions, colleagues in other stations, or anyone they fancy to be on the wrong side of their warped values.
They not only assail and assassinate character, they often importune listeners to take the law into their hands and attack their pet peeves. They incite people to vigilantism.
Some go to the extent of seeking out wrongdoers, like wanted criminals and murderous insurgents, and provide them a microphone to propagandize their perverted causes.
There’s also the issue of programming. Many stations are so unimaginative that all they can think of is peer into the blotters of police precincts for news—as if the only significant events in the community are mischief, criminality, or police reports.
Such police-oriented stations portray our society as violent, crime-ridden, and without redeeming values. They actually think they’re doing Philippine society a favor with their crabby reporting! In fact, they enrage some sectors and push them to violence and mayhem.
The impact of irresponsible media practitioners on those who are glued to radio sets all day is incalculable. They misuse an educational medium and make a mockery of their profession.
Knowing the unrivalled power of broadcast, they take advantage and employ it to project themselves, scatter trivia, and propagate narrow perspectives. In the process they pollute the airwaves with disinformation and, often, profanity and verbal filth.
The spell-binding effect of broadcast media should weigh heavily on those who accredit networks, commentators, and reporters. And the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkasters ng Pilipinas ought to seriously consider the need for appropriate education, experience, and proficiency in personnel hiring.
Strict compliance with the KBP’s Code of Ethics is a must. The sensibility of whole populations is at stake. And the promotion of intellectual and moral integrity should not be compromised.
A deep sense of social responsibility should suffuse the spirit and sense of mission of broadcast practitioners. Then perhaps we will have a more responsible broadcast industry, one that lights up the gloom of ignorance, ease the stresses of modern living, and inspire Filipinos to heights of achievement.
This means we need a Kapisanan ng mga Brodcasters ng Pilipinas that is responsive to our society’s needs and fastidious in pursuing the industry’s mission.
We don’t need networks that thrive on sensationalism and capitalistic greed. Nor do we need media practitioners who relish pushing their audience to the brink of rage and desperation! (Manny is former UNESCO regional director for Asia-Pacific; secretary-general, Southeast Asia Publishers Association; director, Development Academy of Philippines; member, Philippine Mission to the UN; vice chair, Local Government Academy; member, Cory Aquino Government’s Peace Panel; and awardee, PPI-UNICEF most outstanding columnist. He is president/national convenor, Gising Barangay Movement Inc. You may reach him through firstname.lastname@example.org)